HarperCollins ex-CEO, Jane Friedman, has launched a new model "publishing-marketing" company called, "Open Road Integrated Media, LLC" (see links below). This new outfit (acronym: ORIM) plans to start out by e-publishing up to a thousand mostly backlist titles in 2010. It also plans to e-publish an initially limited number of debut authors.
Its model works something like the following: ORIM e-publishes author XYZ's book, accompanied (unlike traditional publishers) by a vigorous online promotional/marketing campaign. Author XYZ receives no advance, but does receive a bigger cut of earnings revenue. If XYZ's book sells very well, then ORIM may publish print copies via either print-on-demand or outsourcing to traditional publishers like Kensington or Grove Press. The gestation period from rights purchase to publication would be cut drastically. Ideally, ORIM also hopes to do away with remaindering -- in other words, bookstores would be stuck with their unsold paper copies. The whole thrust is to eliminate the gross inefficiencies of today's antiquated and wasteful publishing model.
ORIM has an in-house film/tv production unit as well which plans to cull the house's book releases for potential film/tv production.
Finally, ORIM has a POD division to compete with the many other POD companies out there.
Friedman and ORIM's co-founder, Jeffrey Sharp, are banking on getting ahead of the curve of a coming radical restructuring of the publishing industry which centers on an increasing transition to cheaper e-books sold through Kindle, Nook and the like. They're starting out with $3 million in seed money from a NYC venture capital firm.
Authors and agents need to watch this development closely and decide whether going the ORIM-style route to publishing makes sense for them. Reactions from Forum participants would be welcome. What do you think? Wave of the future? or Crapshoot? Good for authors & agents, or not?